[B-Greek] Phil 1:29

Iver Larsen iver at larsen.dk
Tue Jun 27 04:21:50 EDT 2006

That is a wonderful quote. It describes quite well the predicament of translators. If I translate literally, I know that 
I am a liar, because I lose so much of the originally intended meaning. If I am too free, I may introduce some ideas not 
intended. On the other hand, I believe more heresies are based on literal versions than understandable ones, unless the 
translators deliberately alter the meaning to suit their own agenda. Doing a free translation is much more demanding in 
terms of knowing the whole Bible backwards and forwards as well as a high level of linguistic awareness in both original 
languages and target language.

In our Danish version we said in English back translation:

"By the grace of God you have been allowed to not only believe in Christ, but also to suffer for him."

It sounds better in Danish than in English, though.

Iver Larsen

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "yancywsmith" <yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net>
To: "Lillian Belt" <lillianlbelt at yahoo.com>; <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 12:58 AM
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Phil 1:29

I quite agree, unfortunately it is very difficult to make a
translation in which the meaning of the Greek does not suffer, either
through over literalness or through too much freedom. The Talmud
Bavli (Qid. 49a) has this delightful mind bender: "He who translates
a verse verbatim is a liar. But he who alters it is a villain and a
heretic." Moral of the story? Don't translate, I guess!?! I just
checked the Spanish translation we did of Phil 1:29. We came up with:
"Dios les ha concedido el honor no sólo de creer en Cristo, sino
también de sufrir por él." English back translation: "God has granted
you the honor not only of believing in Christ but also of suffering
for him." I think translations that put in a subject of the verb
"have been given" (something like "honor," "opportunity,"  or
"privilege" GNB) are trying to get at the nuance of the CARIS root in
the verb (an implication of abundance, generosity, etc) in a way that
makes better sense to their reading audience than simply using the
Greek structure, which certainly cannot be used without retouching. I
also agree that there is certainly more meaning intended by Paul than
comes across in just about any translation I have seen, but trying on
new renderings for size is almost as rewarding as finding the right one.

Yancy Smith
yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net
5636 Wedgworth Rd.
Fort Worth, TX 76133

On Jun 26, 2006, at 3:50 PM, Lillian Belt wrote:

> Well, this is my first attempt at this so here goes:
> I think you are right, Yancy, in that the word ECARISQH is the key
> word to a proper translation, however, I depart from there.  I
> think it would be better interpretered in light of the NT writer's
> concept of the word, than what is "natural" in English. To be
> "granted" to do something accords to that person a higher honor,
> than to be given an opportunity.  I think your translation, "a
> grand opportunity has been given" is far enough "off the mark", as
> to diminish the power and force of the original language, thus the
> translation suffers harm.  Even in English if we "grant" something,
> it is by special permission, rather than just an opportunity.
> I hope I have kept to the guidelines of this web site, and
> addressed only lexiconical and not theological issues.
> I await replies.
> Lillian Belt
> PO Box 320
> Independence, KS USA

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